By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Does your teen have a summer job? I thought not.

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The Wall Street Journal reports that the rates of teens with summer jobs has declined from about 72% in the 1970s to 40% as of last year. While some blame the economy, the Journal says the reason fewer teens have paying jobs is because they don’t want them. Huh. Go figure.

Many of the non-working kids are choosing instead to attend summer school, get internships, or have other experiences that they think will help them get into college. For those enterprising youth who actually might want to have a way to pay for college, there are some child labor laws that you do need to keep in mind.

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Many states require teens to get working permits so check with your guidance counselor about papers you may need.

Federal law restricts the hours of 14- and 15-year-olds to no more than 8 hours per day or 40 hours per week during non-school weeks, and require that the 14- and 15-year-olds can’t work in mining, manufacturing, working in a meat freezer, boiler or engine room, with an open flame, or other hazardous professions.

Sixteen and 17-year-olds may or may not need a work permit depending on your state but have much more freedom in what work they can perform during non-school weeks.

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The government doesn’t prevent the study of Real Housewives of Orange County or The Science of Tanning that’s for you as a parent to decide.